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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Willey

How to Become an Effective Listener: Fearless in 5

Updated: Nov 13, 2019

Listen up! I made it. And that’s because one of the greatest keys to success is being an effective listener. It requires so much more than just hearing what other people have to say. It’s intentional and it’s a conscious decision that you need to make to truly listen. And that’s why in this week’s Fearless in 5 we’ll make it easy for you. Five steps on how to be an effective listener.

Step #1: Ask questions. It’s really hard to listen if no one’s talking. So be curious and ask your clients and colleagues about what they think.

Step #2: Provide them with some feedback…non-verbal of course. Whether that means that you’re shaking your head in agreement or changing your facial expressions, let them know that you’re truly listening.

Step #3: Focus. When they start talking, don’t take your eyes off of them…make eye contact and take notes, but not too many either. Stephen Covey once said “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.” Take his advice and don’t worry about what you’ll say next; focus on what they’re saying right now.

Step #4. Don’t interrupt. As much as you may want to share your brilliant idea, let them finish their thought. And while you’re at it, don’t be a “Yepper.” You know that kind of person who says “Yep. Yep. Yep” as you’re talking. Stay silent.

Step #5: Don’t finish other people’s sentences. You may think it’s positive to do that; it’s a way to demonstrate that you’re on the same page. But research shows that it makes people feel like you’re not listening to what they actually plan on saying.

The next person that you talk to practice these five simple steps and see how it changes not only your conversation, but your relationship. And if you have some tips on how to be a leading listener, please share them in the comments below. If you want to learn more about how to be fearless at work and in life, check out Wet Cement at

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